– Cashmere, Christchurch

Thanks for your messages.

We have had power on only since 8 last night and despite my computer and keyboard being thrown across the room with all the books and rubbish they are now working!

More importantly we and all our extended family are okay, and alive, but I haven’t heard details. Hamish was teaching at Uni, Claire was teaching at St Margarets, Elliot was at Thorrington School, and little Nina was at pre-school in a wooden 2 storeyed building but it was lunchtime and Nina was outside thank goodness.

It was a horrible quake.

I was at home having my first sick day in 2 years and Pete was here too, which was good. If he had still been working for Pyne Gould Guinness he might have been in that building which completely collapsed where there are still people trapped.

We have only seen the TV images for the last few minutes but they look horrible. We can’t see the city from here though I gather some building is on fire.

We have a lot more breakages this time, and mess (think soy sauce, olive oil and olives 4 cm deep in broken stuff on the pantry floor) and several old things have broken this time, but they are only things. The 2 chimneys (or what is left of them after the Sept 4th one) have cracked and split again and the gas fire has parted from the wall, and there are more cracks, just after we’d been assessed for the last one. The water is not on yet and may be off for 5 days they think. We are not allowed to flush either.

Peggy is unhappy about the all the noise and growls a lot. The aftershocks come every few minutes and are very noisy.

We imagine Hanmer will be fine, as it was last time, and I am keen to go there and sleep undisturbed, have a flush loo, and running water but Pete seems to want to stay here…we’‘ll review it in the morning.

6.30am – a nightmare of a night lying there awake wondering about all those people trapped, and it has been drizzling, and every few minutes – more than 50 over 3 on the scale – vicious after shocks. Peggy slept between us and growled at the ones over 4, which seemed plenty. Some of our neighbours are camping out as they feel safer.

I was worrying about 96 year old Eleanor, Patsy’s mother who is here in Bishopspark and they were damaged last time….

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